Teaching Philosophy

Basic Philosophy of the Suzuki Approach

Violinist and teacher Shinichi Suzuki developed what is known today as the “Suzuki Method” after he realized that children all over the world learn to speak their native tongues effortlessly. Through my Suzuki Association of the Americas approved training and teaching experience, I have adopted the Suzuki philosophy that every child can learn to play a musical instrument. Some key components to the success of this approach include:

  • An Early Beginning
    The early years of development are most crucial for both muscle coordination and ear training. The Suzuki approach starts children with formal lessons and music appreciation as early as possible. It is important to note that although starting musical training at an early age is beneficial, we believe that one is never too old to begin.

  • Parent Involvement
    The Suzuki Triangle is the symbol used to show that the teacher, the parent, and the child are all necessary to the learning process.  Each is equally important and each needs to be able to work together and support one another.

    Therefore, parents should attend lessons, take notes on what to practice, and serve as their child’s at-home teacher. The parent should understand the basics of the instrument in order to do so with confidence. I am more than happy to offer advice and suggestions on this topic.

  • Listening and Repetiton
    Just as your child learned to speak by hearing thousands of words daily, your child can learn music by listening every day. Repetition is essential when learning how to play an instrument. The CD that accompanies the Suzuki books, when listened to daily, makes practicing and attending lessons more successful and enjoyable! For online recordings, I recommend the CadenzaStringsNC YouTube account.

  • Positive Environment
    It is constant praise and encouragement that makes this approach most successful. Although Suzuki taught that every child can learn and develop musicality, I also believe that each child learns at his or her own rate. My teaching style incorporates praise and new challenges in each lesson. As the parent or guardian, you are always encouraged to praise your child, but please allow the teacher to offer corrections and instruction during lessons, as this will prevent confusion.

Group classes

Dr. Suzuki believed the joy of learning music should be shared throughout the community. Therefore, students of this approach participate in regularly scheduled group classes where they have the opportunity to practice performing in front of and alongside their peers, and practice supporting one another. Group classes also encourage memorization of repertoire for easier daily practicing and future performing.


Each family should arrive at their lessons on time (early enough to unpack, get settled, etc.) with all necessary materials (instrument, shoulder rest, music books, practice notebook). The parent or student should use a practice notebook to write down questions, as well as at-home practice assignments. Each student should have access to recordings of their working pieces and review pieces at home (Suzuki CD, YouTube or iTunes playlist).


Students are expected to maintain a regular practice schedule at home. Dr. Suzuki said, “Practice only on the days they eat”! The study of music is very rewarding, but requires daily effort and discipline. I will give specific, achievable weekly practice goals, and will only be able to assign new material when the previous goals are attained. Parents are expected to oversee practice sessions of their young children, so I will provide games and activities that make at-home assignments more successful and rewarding.

Scheduling conflicts / make-ups

I will alert you in the event of any conflicts with the semester schedule. If I need to cancel a lesson, I will provide a make-up lesson at an agreed upon time. I am unable to offer regularly scheduled make-up times. If you let me know in advance about an absence, I will do my best to reschedule your lesson, but cannot guarantee this will be possible.

Studio Family Facebook Page

Like and Follow our Facebook Page: Gabriela Potter’s Music Studio. There you will find updates on the progress of your peers in our studio family. You will also find information about my performance schedule, and other concerts to attend around the Triangle area. Send in event information you would like to advertise, as well as personal accomplishments we can share with our friends